Putin signs pardon decree for Khodorkovsky

Photo: Putin signs pardon decree for Khodorkovsky / Other News

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a pardon decree for jailed businessman and government critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Kremlin said Friday.

In the decree, Putin says that he pardons Khodorkovsky for humanitarian reasons and that the measure takes effect on the day it is signed, dpa reported.

Putin announced Thursday that he would grant a presidential pardon to Khodorkovsky after the former oil tycoon has sent him a request, citing that Khodorkovsy's mother is ill.

Khodorkovsky, who used to be one of Russia's richest men, has been in jail for more than 10 years after being convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement charges.

He has in the past refused to ask for a pardon, implying that it would mean an admission of guilt.

His lawyers, who were apparently surprised by Putin's announcement, have said that they won't comment on the pardoning before they have spoken with Khodorkovsky himself.

Khodorkovsky's mother, Marina Khodorkovskaya, said Friday that lawyer Vadim Klyuvgant was on his way to visit her son in his prison colony in the north-western region of Karelia, the Interfax news agency reported.

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